tv [untitled] January 2, 2012 6:01pm-6:31pm PST
neighborhoods, to try to believe in terms of process, close to planning requirements, when it comes to exceptions for parking or open space. we are trying to spread those to other sections where it makes more sense. it already exists for historic buildings and article 10 districts. this would expand two buildings which are designated categories 1 through 4, and article 11, to give flexibility there. it also does not apply when there is an expansion. this is just for a building that is an existing office building now wants to change to residential, flexibility in terms of exposure requirements, open space requirements. rather than having to go through a very process, saying that you are not demolishing part of the historic building in order to have a code compliance yard, you are instead changing the use of the building. if that very word to come before
me, we would see that as a hardship. we would not want to see a historic building demolished to create this yard and open space requirement. additionally, historic buildings, and edition for not conforming uses in residential buildings. this would allow a non- conforming use to change to residential use. there would be the administrative review process for this. i appreciate the concern about this, but this would apply only when there is no expansion of the building. you have an existing non- complying building in a residential district, something that is not currently allowed under the code. rather than having them go to a converted process to convert to a residential use, they could go through this administrative process. while there is no additional public hearing, as there would be for a very, there would be a
public notice for the change of use. the decision would ultimately be appealable to the board of appeals. section 307h says the decision is part of the permit building application. it could be dr'ed to the planning commission. it is just removing part of the process. commissioner antonini: thank you. that is something that concerned parties can continue to work with staff during the next month and make sure this clarification is worked into the concerns you had. finally, in continuing on the f.a.r. bonus for affordable housing on site. mr. battle made a good point. since polymer, we have seen almost none of this bill. it is impossible under current state law to be able to do this unless there is some sort of bonus, and this would provide a
bonus that might incentivize the establishment of on-site affordable housing for rental properties that i think would be a benefit. the jury, in my estimation, is still out whether it is appropriate to have affordable housing on site. there have been situations where people have had a hard time -- especially with ownership, more than rental -- having a different situation where they have fees connected with the ownership unit, beyond the ability of these people to pay because of the income restrictions. another way of looking at this also is perhaps incentivizing for affordable offsites within a mile of the particular building, another thing that is sometimes effective. again, this applies itself more to the ownership situation than
it does to the rental situation. i think this is a promising proposal and i think it is a good part of this legislation. again, it will be considered. a couple of brief things. qualifications for people to be part of this advisory group for the port. again, it is always good to have people with qualifications. i do not think i would restrict it to people who necessarily have to have a lot of expertise in a certain area. on commissions, it is good that we are citizen commissioners and we bring different perspectives. working with support is essential, especially in view of not only the america's cup, but other things. we have to make sure anything put into place does not have a deleterious effect on profits that are moving forward.
finally, the awnings and screens, concern about working with members of the community in chinatown regarding this. certainly, not reached on the purposes of these sign changes, screen changes, making sure it is appropriate wherever it is called for. i think the legislation has a lot of promise, but i would agree with -- peter cohen brought up the idea that it is a large piece of legislation that is very complicated. i think we're getting closer to understanding the different parts of it. thank you. commissioner olague: commissioner miguel? commissioner miguel: an unusual piece of omnibus legislation. i do not thing there is any other term for it. i appreciate what aaron, and marie, and justin, and tom has put into it.
in general, i am in full agreement with the department's recommendations. i think -- i know they are thoughtful, and i think they have met many of the concerns. i will go over three or four items that i have concerns on. i am working from the executive summary that was produced for the commission. in the section on streetscape improvements, there is a comment of removing basements that extend under the public right of way. refers to this city street plan. i know the tree planting is what is most affected by this. everyone would be loading on
sidewalks with a sly or elevator. i do not know if everyone is familiar with the fact that, in many areas of the city, certainly north beach, financial district, chinatown, there are not just basements, there are sub and subsub basins used by these businesses, rented by these businesses. i remember years ago, there was an old restaurant in the financial district. it went down three levels, with kitchen and storage and refrigeration and everything else. an interval part of the business. this extended under the street. this is true in many instances. i am just questioning this because i think if you make a major improvement to a building and you have to remove that, you would be removing much of the usable area of the commercial
business that is theoretically at street level. that is one item. i noted, the original says signs for gas stations can extend above the roof line, department regulations where they could not project above the roof line. and driving, walking around the city in the last couple of weeks, this made me take a look. i have not seen any gas station signs that do not project above the roof line of the service station. so i am presuming they would be grandfathered in, however, i am questioning whether or not this is actually necessary or woodwork. i had even seen a couple of gas stations where there was actually no building, but the
sun was out there. so that provides a different situation also. the recommendation by the department regarding temporary signs for events, obviously, we are thinking about america's cup, and that has to be very definite. i think it is fairly well taken care of. i go down to the van ness special use district, and i see , on the part recommendation, reducing the permitted high of projection signs from 24 feet to 20 feet. no, about that. but businesses would be required to turn of illumination when the businesses close. my experience with this, although not in the van ness special used district, but a
flower shop in the richmond district, with a projecting sign that was eliminated, -- illuminated, i had that sign on a timer. even if i closed at 6:00 or 7:00, it would go off at 10:00 or 11:00. it was advertising for me within reasonable hours. if that was true, with a very small neighborhood business, it is going to be even more necessary for larger businesses. so i would question that. however, i think the department has done an unbelievable job with this massive piece of legislation in their recommendations. on the whole, with these few questions, i think they are great and i look forward to
february. commissioner olague: commissioner fong? commissioner fong: i am glad we are continuing the item and giving it more time to mature. there are some good things in this that are clean up language, some questionable things in it. i still have concerns, and i think that is the purpose of the continuation, to allow the supervisor and its authors to reach out to different groups might be affected by this. to my knowledge, and i am quite close to many of the port tenants, along with chinatown, basically, people do not know about this yet. i am hopeful that people can understand this. i am still perplexed at the process of lumping so many unrelated things together, and you have one or two great things, but you would let minor awnings get in the way and kill a large aspect of it. i am in favor -- this commission
spend a lot of time carefully looking at small and large items, and i would be in favor of breaking this up into pieces that are more manageable. i have read the several different times, and i am confused. i care -- dare to ask the question who truly understand all this? i will not do that. i hope there is more out -- and people get the opportunity to chime in a bit. some of the items seem to be written by folks who do not live in the area or have not spent too much time but do not like the way that chinatown looks with vinyl awnings. that might be the case, but that is part of the character, whether you like it or not. all the different districts make the city unique. i am hoping, when we come back, there are more folks involved. frankly, most frankly -- importantly, that people understand this.
commissioner olague: commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: i want to thank ms. gish -- commissioner miguel for bringing up the thing that i forgot, about the elimination's. i can speak from personal experience, we have often times had illumination on photoelectric cells, and there's advantages. for example, security. if you have a lighted area, you are less apt to have problems because anyone intent upon criminal activities, it is very visible to people in the area. of course, advertising is another. ultimately, this should be a decision made by the individual business owners and the city should not be making decisions as to how a business owner wishes to spend their investment of this double funds in running their business. if they want to eliminate it, it
should be their decision to do it. without getting into the details, this is an important detail that we did that go into too much detail. restrictions in the van ness corridor. i think it has ramifications for the other areas too. where we are eliminating the minimum requirements for parking, but what are we replacing it with? restrictions on maximums? >> the maximum for residential, i believe, -- the proposal is to change from one parking space to every four units. the idea is to create the maximum 150%. commissioner antonini: so you could go from on to two by cu?
>> you would get rid of the minimum and then make it -- we have not done that calculation. commissioner antonini: it sounds too restrictive, going too far in a certain direction. i can see eliminating required minimums is a step in the right direction, but every product is different and there are projects that definitely need one to one parking. trying to restrict them to less or to make it cumbersome, administratively, to go through a long cu process, to just get this additional parking that they may need for the development, i think, is moving in the wrong direction. i would look at that seriously. this is an area that has potential for a lot of development of housing in the future. there will be different kinds of developments, some which will not want parking, others that will require one to one parking.
>> if i could address some things that have come up. commissioner miguel, you mentioned 10 feet above the roof line of the gas station. that applies only for signs that are attached to the building. it does not impact freestanding signs. the reason for the illumination ban, it is recognizing the change of van ness to more residential characteristics. the idea was to not have flashing where illumination at night. commissioner antonini: thank you. it was difficult to read that without the detail of the legislation. >> it is the only use that is allowed to project at far above the roof line. commissioner olague: commissioner moore?
commissioner moore: thank you for the continuation and understanding that that is important. certain parts of the discretion have consensus and there are others that will be at the hearing today where additional work needs to be done. i am personally interested -- it became clear with mr. cohen's presentation -- presentation of affordable housing with the mayor's office of economic development, it becomes important because if there are new initiatives to discuss this difficult issue, i would like supervisor chiu's legislation to be in lockstep with what is going on there. with those particular experts, everything is coming together and we do not find ourselves being confronted with palmer.
i would like to see a matured, multi-level discussion to help develop legislation by which we could act and have guidance in the long run. i want to comment on an issue that had my attention, the issue of sidewalk elevators. a large part of downtown san francisco, particularly, in the financial district, because of the way buildings operate, they have, in basements where loading is operated from a sidewalk which might be a few buildings away. we see that at the bottom of montgomery, bush street. you see that in other cities like new york and chicago. i think these buildings, unless we create more problems with existing loading docks, and these things are part of the older buildings infrastructure. mostly, these elevators are run
in off hours, at 5:00 in the morning. i happen to walk by them late at night or early in the morning. they rarely interfere with sidewalk traffic. sometimes they do, but it is maybe one day out of the year. i would look at that carefully. i will look at how the builders operate and what they need to function. there is also utility access for pg&e, and some of them still have steam provisions underneath. this is a technical issue. i do not think we should use that to prove the streetscape. i am glad you clarified about the sighted. gas station signs. i understand new gas stations, of which i have not seen for many years -- is the opposite. we still need to know where
there are, because they are hard to find. as much as i do not like freestanding signs, as much as i totally disagree with them being as tall as they are, it is the only way to find them. otherwise, you will miss them and as a greenhouse gases by circling the block because you missed the driveway, when they were wedged in between residential. whether this is anecdotal stuff, the intent is good, but the reality of the city is different, particularly coming in the area where this code changes are supposed to apply. regarding van ness corridor, night lighting, i am all for using reasonable energy code. but general street lighting on van ness is designed at the level, which if you would turn out current illumination of commercial, it would be below standard. the street is so dark that even
the new residential buildings, because the way the lobbies are designed, do not give you the comfortable lighting in barn and in the middle of the night as you have in other parts of the city. there is a standard for illumination, and i would hope that you check that what you are pursuing this code. in the long run, it might work. at the moment, it does not. i am just throwing that out because there are some reality to these changes. generally, i am happy to see the thoroughness and the challenges this particular dialogue is causing, so i hope that you will come back and everything is resolved. commissioner olague: commissioner sugaya? commissioner sugaya: i do not get the connection between all the proposed changes, other than the happen to be together. we have nice words upfront about
how it will implement one kind of thing or another, but i still do not see how signs and affordable housing are on par, whether we should be considering all this together. i agree with commissioner fong. if there is a lot of to do about the signs, maybe the supervisor and staff ought to take it out. then move on with other sections. that said, i would also like to support commissioner moore and peter cohen with respect to the housing part. it seems if there is a coordinated effort to look at the entire affordable housing situation in the city, that there is going to be this process starting early next year, that perhaps, this ought to wait, or be folded into the process, instead of moving ahead separately with it. i do not know what the state
level, if anything is happening legislatively, to address the cases we have talked about, but that, too, might be a situation where if it can be fixed at the estate bubble, -- level -- i am not saying that we should not wait, but if there are efforts that can be made, we should be aware of that, too. perhaps there will be new things coming down the pipe that we will have to consider. since we are on basements, our office building has a base that extend underneath the sidewalk. we use it for storage and other things. there are cockroaches and other things down there. but it would be extremely difficult if we proposed anything that would trigger removing the basement to do so, because that is where our some pump is, where all the major
electrical panels are located. i do not even think -- not sure whether our foundation wall does not incorporate some structural strength that extends out to the sidewalk. i am sure all that would be taken into consideration. in any case, it would have to be a case by case situation. i would like to have staff and supervisors stand firm on surface parking lots. support the direction you are going there. i did have a question on a long- term parking rates. could you explain that more? long-term parking rates isn't in terms -- the addition to what?
>> it was developed during the downtown plan, to discourage people from driving downtown every day. it does not allow you to have a discount to purchase a monthly pass. you have to be charged the hourly rate. right now, we do not do a good job of enforcing it. that is current policy. the new one would allow an early bird special. a discount of $2.50 if you arrive before a certain time and leave after a certain time. in terms of expanding the waterfront committee, that is a great idea. commissioner sugaya: you are also suggesting that curb cuts should not come before this commission, but go to the
advisory committee? >> correct. commissioner sugaya: could you explain -- i do not the -- know the total powers of the committee. are they not just advisory -- i guess my question is, if it goes to the waterfront advisory committee, would jurisdiction do they have two or -- do they have to approve or deny? commissioner moore: it is advisory. for those that do not know, i sit on the waterfront port advisory. curbcuts are operational. they are not used or interpreted in a way that we see a new residential building that needs a wider curbcut then what the code allows. we are operating with a fixed
amount, but sometimes, due to changes in buildings, that needs to move. however, it comes to a discussion because there is still access that is required. can it be moved a little bit or altogether? there is never really any new edition of curbcuts. i was in the jurisdiction of the approval of the design advisory. people on the advisory do discuss the necessity of curbcuts. there is a strong understanding of the waterfront plan objectives, the ideas of the embarcadero, the nature of the importance of bicycles. it is not about adding the curbcuts, but being the stewards of the idea. since she is on the enforcing
end of things, she should speak to it herself. commissioner sugaya: if it goes to the committee -- where does that go? >> diane with the port. commissioner, to explain how the issue gets addressed by the committee -- in the planning code now, it is the city's waterfront advisory plan committee. the recommendation that comes from the committee go to the port director and planning director. if those recommendations are not going to be accepted by the port, there is an appeals process, at its highest level, which have to go back to the port commission, planning commission.
while we call that an advisory committee, it actually has teeth. commissioner olague: commissioner borden? commissioner borden i think my colleagues have covered a lot of the issues that this legislation covers. there are of great pieces here. i think a lot of the issues around f.a.r., bicycle parking, regular parking, affordable housing, everything dealing with the c-3 district is a lot of things that we grapple with on a regular basis with these large projects. i think this area is -- more work on this direction, supporting this, would be worthwhile. that is not to preclude conversation that we have had with the affordable housing community, looking at how this may complement the other thing that we could give out for incentives. ous